12.22.2005

Just a Little Typo

The Economist (Dec.17-23) reports that a trader at Japan's largest bank, Mizuho, intended to sell one share of JCom for 610,000 yen, rather than what he actually keyed in: 610,000 shares at one yen each! Apparently you can't just yell "DO OVER" on their stock exchange, so the order went through as written. The bank frantically tried to buy back the shares (which it didn't own, and in fact constituted four times the number of shares that actually existed), but will likely be out a hundred million dollars or so.

Thinking Big
In the same issue they report that Bill Gates, when asked to do a sound check prior to giving a talk in India, rather than saying "one, two, three" into the microphone recited instead "one billion, two billion, three billion."

The New Farmers
Finally, in an article Worlds without end on virtual worlds like SecondLife or Project Entropia, The Economist notes that there are real functioning economies. Here's the kicker:

Companies in China pay thousands of people, known as "farmers", to play [these games] all day, and then profit from selling the in-game goods they generate to other players for real money.

One economist estimated that the "per capita GNP" of Everquest was $2,000, higher than many nations.

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